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VR: Getting started

By April 9, 2019No Comments

Notes from Edx’s  VR Certificate course


I hear and I forgot, I see and I rememeber, I do and I understand.

  1. History
  2. Human Focus
  3. Display Devices
  4. Input Devices
  5. Interaction Concepts

1. Defining features of VR:

  1. VR always has to do with a computer generated virtual world
  2. Interaction: respond/feedback to user action in as natural way was possible
  3. Immersive: achieved by displaying thr VR world around the user. Even partial immersion allows for realistic rendering to the user

Every VR Experience must have all 3 features above.

2. Application Domains

  1. VR Games
  2. Theme parks
  3. Architecture and infrastructural modeling
  4. Flight and drive simulators
  5. Train
  6. Sales (cars)
  7. Pharma industry for drug design
  8. Surgical planning in medicine, simulate medical procedures

3. VR History

  1. Vr requires multiple components. For example, the oldest component is graphics
  2. 1949: The first computer graphic system was built in 1949, at MIT, driven by the Whirlwind Computer.
  3.  1962: The  Sensorama, created in 1962, by Morton Heilig.
  4. 1967, first haptic display was developed in 1967, by Fred Brooks at he University of North Carolina for drug design
  5.  1965: The first head Mounted VR and AR Display (head tracked) developed by  Ivan Sutherland, from the University of Utah
  6.  1970’s: A lot of progress in computer graphics as computers got faster and graphics were rendered better
  7. 1971: Raster graphics
  8.   1971-1979 shading method advancements: Flat surfaces, dull surfaes, glossy surfaces
  9. Tracking is necessary to create true immersion. So you need to track the users head and body in space. Which allows for the virtual world to respond to the user in a natural way
  10. Uptil 1970’s tracking was done mechanically with arms and headset anchored to the ceiling and used forward motion measured by kinematic motion to measure the user’s position
  11. 1979: Electromagnetic tracking system developed by Polhemus which allowed for tracking over longer distances
  12.  1985: First VR Gloves, developed by Jaron Lanier’s VPL research, called Data Gloves.
  13. 1988: VPL releases Eyephone: The first non-mechanically tracked HMD (head mounted device). Color displays of 180 X 140 px for each eye. Field view of 90 x 60 degrees.
  14. Development of VR in 1990s led to the modern VR consumer market

4. Modern VR

  1.  1990s: Development of walk-in VR systems
  2. 1992:  VR Walk in cave developed by by Carolina Cruz-Neira, Tom DeFanti, and Dan Sandin at the University of Illinois in Chicago. Used electromagnetic or ultrasonic tracking
  3. 1993 :Silicon Graphics reality engine, capable of rendering 200,000 textured and garage shaded polygons per second.
  4. Today: Nvidia GTX 1080 graphics cards, can render 50,000 times as many.
  5. 2002: Milestone for tracking as optical tracking systems become available
  6. Mid 2000s: High end graphic cards become available for gaming
  7. 2012: Lucker Palmer develops Oculus Rift and puts it up on Kickstarter
  8. 2016: Oculus releases first consumer product
  9. 2016: HoloLens,  HTC vive also released


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